Saturday, April 19, 2008

Taking Back Sunnyside Mall

The weather is warming up and so is the gang activity. The good people who run the Chicago Uptown Crime Blotter site are issuing a call to action.
Folks - we need to take action and take it now. 'Taking Back Sunnyside Mall' needs to happen now, before the summer rolls in and it becomes even harder to change behavior that will most certainly take a turn for the worse.

If you want to help, please email us at
Click here to read the entire post. If you're sick of the gangs and drugs, and if you're tired of watching it all happen, here's a way to do something.

Ours is a unique community where change usually comes about solely due to the actions of the residents. We've seen a lot of good happen because regular people, just like you and your neighbors, decided to stop waiting for things to change, and they made change happen. Here's a chance to make it happen this summer.


  1. What are the boundaries of the sunnyside mall? We're not talking the strip of benches situated a block south of wilson from beacon street eastward?

  2. What is the common denominator? It is amazing how so few people can reek such havoc on a community.

  3. What would you expect from 3rd generation welfare recipients, who have been given everything and aren't expected to contribute anything to the community?

    The Sunnyside Mall is located at 4500 N. and 1232 W. The problem is the area of Sunnyside, from Magnolia to Malden. This is were the Almighty Black P Stone Nation, a.k.a the Moes, have claimed their turf.

  4. Let's focus on the situation at hand, the causes of this type of social consequence are too complex to boil it down to "third generation welfare recipients who have been given everything."

    I do know that the two building on the west side of Magnolia have been cleared out of tenants at least once, and the Black P Stones persist, so perhaps they are in the buildings on the east side of Malden. There are children in these buildings as well.

    I would suggest that the presidents of the condo associations on Magnolia work with the block club (Graceland/Wilson) to organize something (or maybe the block club can contact them). I will make my president aware of this and participate in whatever I can.

  5. You have two options, address the deep rooted sociological issues or get rid of CHA scattered site housing. All problems, in that area, come from some form of subsidized housing. Either way, these "People" are going to be around for a while.

  6. "People"? What's with the quotation marks. Also, the first paragraph of the post at 8:30am is just the kind of distraction that will hurt the credibility of any effort to clean up Sunnyside Mall.

  7. The Sunnyside mall runs from Magnolia to Beacon. It is smack dab between Montrose and Wilson.

    This is the major hangout for the Black P-Stone Rangers. The rival gangs are east of Sheridan and includes factions of the Vice Lords.

    James Cappleman had a grid of all the Uptown gangs in his campaign material and assume it's still accurate.

    The gang members live all around our neighborhood. We have several in the buildings behind, next door and across the alley.

    Why gangs exist is a complex sociological issue. Does every young male join a gang. Hell no. But I watch the young males on my block who are wooed into gangs as a promise of being part of a group where they are respected.

    Two on my neighbors have been murdered in the past few years. Both were involved with gangs.

    We either take back Sunnyside mall or the gang gunfights will escalate. Remember, it's only 2 buildings away from Broncho Billy playlot, where a full sized basketball court sits in the middle of the playlot. Insane.

    Get your condo associations involved, contact GWNA and get the block club involved (by the way, are you a member?), contact Sargent Hargarty and Jami to make sure this issue surfaces and is permanently addressed.

    It's going to be a long hot summer.

  8. "People" is a reference to the alliance that the Moes belong to. Gangs fall into one of two alliances, "People" or "Folks."

  9. Would anyone be willing to discuss this issue this evening in the mall around 8 pm by Malden? Maybe we can come up with some ideas where we can out number the gang members by doing community stuff in the mall some evenings.

  10. Hell. Let's just brick up walls on each side of the mall and let them use it as a firing range until the last gangmember is standing. They are intent upon shooting at each other until one gang win the turf war.

    Let's just get it over with and keep the bystanders out of the cross fire.

  11. Here I've been sitting on the benches down there with my pooch the last week, totally oblivious to all of this!

    It is such a great little stretch though with all of those beautiful old buildings. We should definitely take back this unique space, especially like some of you said, as it's getting warmer out and the real "bad apples" are going to be hitting the streets even more.

  12. Many of these gang bangers aren't from our ward. At our CAPS meeting we have been told that our ward has become a destination for gan bangers from other parts of the city. They know our alderman is soft on crime.

    We can also place some blame on Mayor Daley. Let's all remember he came up here right before the election last year and told everyone what a great job everyone was doing on crime, just to insure himself another yes man in the city council. We protested out front, the media was here, and the mayor basically told the media the protesters are full of crap, and they will say anything before an election.

    I wonder if he thinks we're full of it now? or if he cares? or if he even knows about all the shootings?

  13. I have also posted this several times, and there was a story about it here on the UU:

    The Clarendon Park Neighbors have put together a neighborhood watch, the Chicago Police are coming out to train us,so we know what to look for while staying out of harms way. We had around 50 people commit, and that doesn't include their spouses/significant others.

    I'm sure this would be available to any block club that wants to make a difference.

    Just search the update for the story, I'm pretty sure there's contact info.

  14. Why don't we just have the mall removed and restore the original streets and intersections?

  15. While I applaud the efforts of people who want to take the sunnyside mall back, I just have to say that I am really scared of doing positive loitering or something like that. Is that ok for me to say? When I read the account of the person who had to hide behind a dumpster and thought he was a goner...I was pretty upset. Like that poster, I have a young child and the thought of something happening to me and leaving my child without a parent is really frightening.

    I am willing to help any group across Uptown who wants to do something more to stop the violence & crime around here. I just have to say that I already limit the amount of time that I spend in these areas and I am not looking to increase it. I know when I lock myself in my apartment that adds to the problem in a way but I am just really scared of putting myself or my child in a bad situation.

    I suggest that you get a really good plan together with CAPS that will address the problem, keep bystanders as safe as possible, and not push the activity elsewhere into Uptown. And if we need money for more cameras in this neighborhood, we should ask the police where they could go if money weren't an object. How can regular citizens even buy one??

  16. I agree with anonymous above who recommends opening the streets back up the way they used to be. I applaud the effort of those who keep up the gardens and planters, but this is nothing but a hang out spot for loiterers. Open the streets back up - you would even gain more parking.

  17. Please send any and all suggestions on how to clean up beat 2311 to me at

    But more importantly, as I can't do everything, is I am looking for people to help implement projects we think will help the neighborhood reduce Crime.

    These projects could include community walks or "positive loitering" etc at areas at the mall or otherwise. And/or other projects that we think would help the neighborhood reduce crime.

    Email me if you are interested. I don't really get any responses on people who want to help implement CAPS projects when I ask, but, maybe with this recent criminal activity going on I will get some volunteers?! :)

    Also, if you have a gang or drug building you want to report, let me know and I will email you the form to fill out and tell you who to send it to at the 23rd district.

    caps beat facilitator for 2311

  18. Those of you in beat 2311....a few more things.....we're working on setting up a neighborhood watch group potentially in sheridan park as they are doing in clarenden park. Also, we are working on getting a safety tips seminar at Truman College one night in may or june. I hope to have the date nailed down soon. Thought I had a date but something just came up and it won't work..

    OH, and make sure if you see something suspicious to CALL 911! We still aren't having enough calls in our area, even given the amt of crime!

    capsbeat 2311 facilitator

  19. Jami, can we have a pan-Uptown CAPS meeting periodically? I realize that the police organize according to beats, but regular people consider themselves citizens of Uptown. I live in the 48th near the Lawrence/Sheridan dividing line. I think there is some interest in doing some of the stuff people are suggesting but for now we might have to stretch across beats in order to get the number of people we will need in order to make a difference. Maybe if we start doing stuff together as an entire community that would encourage more people to get involved.

  20. Last Friday I was walking home from the train at 5:50 down Magnolia from Wilson ... bang bang, (pause) bang, bang, bang. Meanwhile my wife and son were at Billy Broncho Park (1/2 a block away). How long until the next shooter comes into the park to shoot at the gang members playing basketball? I would suggest that everytime you see a gang member or someone that may be a gang member in the park way or the park call 911 and report that they are doing something suspicious, or dealing drugs or you saw one of them with a gun etc.

  21. I glad to hear that sheridan park is also looking into the neighborhood watch program. We have our training this weekend here in claredon park.

    I think if each block club did something like this it could be really positive for the entire ward.

    From what I understand there's going to be a pretty diverse group in CP, not just us evil condo owners.

  22. I would suggest that everytime you see a gang member or someone that may be a gang member in the park way or the park call 911 and report that they are doing something suspicious, or dealing drugs or you saw one of them with a gun etc.

    I would say that's filing a false police report. There are better ways to get the police involved.

    PLEASE -- come to CAPS. Call the Community Policing Office. Write letters. The new Commander says that gangs are one of her top priorities... call and see if you can set up a meeting with her and your block club.

    But saying someone you suspect has a gang affiliation is carrying a gun is a good way to get yourself in trouble, and to make the police wary of responding to unfounded charges.

    We object to the gangs going vigilante -- we can't do the same thing.

  23. Uh, yeah. Don't LIE to the police. That is not going to help any.

    There are so many valid reasons and suspiciouns upon which to base a call to 911, why make up stuff?!?

  24. Speaking of the mall, check out this site.

  25. I fixed the link:

    Now that was a strange read. It's about gang history at Sunnyside Mall from the '70's through '90's. Here's an excerpt:

    "To look at this Uptown Chicago street corner today, you would never know that it was once home to one of the most insane Gaylord sets: The Sunnyside and Magnolia Gaylords. In the 1970s through the late 1990s, this neighborhood known as one Chicago's poorest and toughest neighborhoods, was home to one of the most proud and loyal Gaylord Nation sets. These pictures do not tell the real story. They can only give you a point of reference. Back in the day, these buildings were falling apart, and were covered with Gaylord taggings and murals. Today, you see young well-to-do mother's pushing expensive baby carriages down the sidewalks of this once Uptown Chicago slum, and you wonder if these new residence know the blood that was shed defending these corners, these corners of Sunnyside and Magnolia."

    There are some pictures too. I didn't know gaylords were white too. Some of these guys, when you get past the tattoos, look Polish!

  26. This "mall" has been gang territory for over 25 years - and only 2 commentors think we should reopen it as a street? I am surprised everyone isn't ready to open it back up. Its poor urban planning in its current state.

  27. What was the reasoning for turning it into a mall in the first place? I was away at college when that happened, so I didn't follow the process.

  28. Where is the local block club on this matter? Aren't they the ones best equipped to organize a response? Is there even an active block club for this area? When was their last meeting? How many members are there?

  29. The block club in this area is Graceland Wilson Neighbors Association.

    It's been very quiet the past year or so. Max Reising is the acting president. Needs a new board since the last board members burned out will all the volunteer work. Time for new blood.

    Get informed. Get involved.